Front Page Titles (by Subject) 122.: German and French Intellectual Development in the Eighteenth Century - Judgments on History and Historians
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122.: German and French Intellectual Development in the Eighteenth Century - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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German and French Intellectual Development in the Eighteenth Century
The French mind takes cognizance of things almost only ad probandum [for the sake of arguing], any more, in order to derive some proof of the reprehensibility of everything up to then.
The German mind, on the other hand, exists ad narrandum [for the sake of reporting], i.e., it has an infinity of things to report from within as well as from the world viewed through new eyes. It has a decided capacity for becoming absorbed in itself and in the world.
Conclusive evidence of this is supplied by the treatment of music in the two countries at that time. Since it has nothing to do with the probare, the sole activity of the contemporary French mind, it plays a small role in France, Grétry and Méhul notwithstanding. In poetry, too, no really great work is possible in France because of this tendentiousness.
The German spirit, by contrast, is positive, rich, multifarious, exploring itself in all directions and enjoying its treasures, oriented toward understanding and intellectual happiness.
Nowhere among its greatest representatives is there a trace of the general dissatisfaction or of the scornful tone with which France flies in the face of everything past and present. Individual feelings predominate, but where the general does appear, it is patriotism of the enthusiastic rather than the embittered variety. Instead of bitterness there prevails here buoyant enthusiasm in a great variety of endeavors.